Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Operation

As promised here is the kit for the operation.

The operation itself.  Although there were more illustrations of people being held done by several people as the surgeons prepared for the operation, which seemed to me vital if the surgeon was going to get past the first incision.

Then of course the bandages.  They had to be reused hence the use for this bandage rolling machine.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Old Operating Theatre

The NHS doesn't seem nearly so bad after a visit to the old operating theatre museum.

Part of the Old St Thomas hospital that dates back to the 13th century and also home to Florence Nightingales nursing school.  The operating theatre (Europe's oldest) was originally the herb garrett that was transformed into this theatre in 1822.

Many learned surgical skills either by partaking or being part of the audience watching the gruesome operations.  Think amputation with no anaesthetic.  The theatre was blocked up and hidden for nearly 100 years only being discovered during renovations of the hospital in 1956.  In 1962 it reopened as a museum.

As a special treat tomorrow I will post an image of some of the surgical instruments.  Bet you can't wait.
Details for a visit can be found here.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Scooters the new Skateboard?

Scooters are in.  From tots to the silver haired, everyone seems to be scooting around the city.  Even those I would have associated with skateboards seem to be in on the scooting craze.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ted and Robbie

It’s my mate Robbie’s birthday today ... well I say my mate Robbie, but I've never actually met him, possibly because he’s been dead for 219 years now.  Robbie or Rabbie as he was known, is Scotland’s favourite son and national poet … even after all this time. In fact in 2009 he was voted the greatest Scot by the Scottish public, and this in a nation stacked full of heroes and world changers. He wrote in both Scottish and English and thus his poems and songs (of which he composed many) reached worldwide audiences. His literary themes remained true to his roots and included all things Scottish - like for starters ... republicanism, nationalism, cultural identity, equality, sex, and whisky.

Every year the Scottish as a nation celebrate the birthday of Robbie Burns on 25 January. If you get invited to a “Burn’s night” it’s a big deal, with a lot of tradition surrounding the celebration meal. The star of the meal is haggis. It is ah erm … a collection of the offal bits of an animal mixed with oatmeal, onion and few other ingredients, then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and simmered for a long time …

At the risk of some angry post from Scotland, I must say that there are other claims of origin to the haggis pre-dating the Scottish version, including that it actually came to Scotland in a Viking picnic basket. 

At a Burns dinner the haggis is carried in on a silver platter while a man in a kilt plays the bagpipes, the haggis is "piped in" to the room. Then the “Address to the Haggis” is enacted – all seven verses, and after that the haggis is cut open, and I imagine fragrant odours reflecting it’s ingredients fill the air. It’s traditionally served with “neeps” (swede/turnips) and “tatties” (mashed potatoes) and washed down with “the water of life” .. yep whisky. The Doll and I have decided that we won’t do haggis today, rather we will do just a couple of the moreish Scottish foodstuffs that we can all enjoy nowadays.

We’ll start the day with a Scottish staple, porridge (with brown sugar and loads of runny fresh cream) followed by a cup of tea with some nice shortbread in the shape of the famous “Scottie Dogs”. Later we’ll enjoy a little of the water of life, before we sing Auld Lang Syne … composed by you know who.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Tax Time

Pretty lights and a smart building where one can find Her Majesty's revenue collectors.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Missed the Bus

Just missed the bus.  I do love the new route masters that enable you to leap on and off where ever they are, although this time I wasn't fast enough to jump on.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Tower

London's skyline has changed significantly in recent years,  Each new towering building trying to outdo the last one.  Broadgate Tower was completed in 2009 at a cost of £240 million and with very little of the controversy encountered by some of the newer buildings.  Due in part to the developers meeting the concerns of the authorities and the public, that the building shouldn't intrude on the views from the Tower of London or St Paul's.

Construction was slow as the building sits over the rail line leading into Liverpool station and work stopped frequently for trains.  It is also unique compared to other recent lofty towers in that it has not been nicknamed by the public.  (Think cheese grater, walkie talkie, gherkin), however I think credit card might suit it what do you think?

Monday, 19 January 2015

Housing a Royal Collection

A painter to royalty, a Frenchman, a Swiss friend and a Polish king are all part of the history and creation of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Francis Bourgeios British born of Swiss ancestry was a court painter to King George III.  Not only did he paint but was also a great collector and dealer of art.  Bourgeios and his friend Noel Desenfans (a French writer who came to Britian in 1769) were commissioned by King Augustus of Poland to create a royal collection of art from scratch.  Following the King's abdication the pair were left with the collection.  Among those they tried selling the work to, were the Tsar of Russia and the British government.   It became clear that they were not going to be able to sell the collection in its entirety, so the pair determined the work should be bequeathed to an organisation that would ensure the collection remained intact.  The British Museum was the prime candidate, but Bourgeios found them too difficult to work with.

It was important to the two men that the collection be available for viewing by the general public.  Desenfans died in 1807 leaving the collection to Bourgeios, who in turn bequeathed the collection along with £10,000 to the Dulwich College to build a public gallery.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ted goes a la natural …

You were all hoping for a naked picture weren't you!!  I might not be naked (it’s winter here for goodness sake) but I am getting back to nature for sure.  On one of my recent forays to Borough Market I decided I would try Elliot’s restaurant and totally lucked out when they gave me a very nice table and yet another lovely Welsh waitress gave me a menu and a wine list.

 I decided that I would start with mussels, fennel and morcilla (blood sausage) and follow on with a roast Texal lamb loin with all the roast trimmings. I should just say right now that both dishes were delicious, but what I had really come for was to take a look at the wine list, and partake of some of the offerings, as they do mostly “natural wines”.

Now I don’t know about you but I find myself rather uninformed about what exactly “natural”, ”organic”, “bio dynamic” and “sustainable” wines are in reality.  So I went and talked to a wine merchant who I know is well versed in it all - Sustainable Wines UK.  With approval I purloined these explanations from their website for us all … ready …

“Natural” wines are defined as coming from those vineyards where nothing is added either during the vine growing process or the wine making process, making these wines a pure expression of their terroir.

“Organic” wine is “wine made from organically grown grapes”. Organically grown grapes are produced without the use of fungicides, herbicides, pesticides or chemicals in the vineyard, and in the winery the wine is made with less chemicals, e.g. sulphites, than conventional wines.

“Bio Dynamic” involves growing the grapes without the use of herbicides, insecticides, systemic fungicides or soluble fertilisers. It incorporates the use of special herbal, mineral and animal preparations and teas and includes a deep understanding of the complex cosmic rhythms which affect these daily activities.

.. and last but certainly not least … "Sustainable" wine growing schemes promote environmentally and economically sustainable vineyard and winery management.

I thought I’d better try something from their well selected range and chose a sustainable Ohau Woven Stone Rose 2014, and what a lovely mouthful of delicious pink wine it is, fresh, juicy, and bursting with lovely red berry flavours, a super sipper indeed.

If you are in London this coming Tuesday evening (20 January) and fancy checking this out for yourself you will find Sustainable Wines UK along with lots of New Zealand Wineries at the Ultimate NZ Wine Tasting.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Update on Renovations

As part of the new cross rail development some stations are getting a makeover.  Tottenham Court station being one of them.  The new ticket office is now complete, very spacious it is too.  As I wandered through one of the staff was swinging between the new ticket gates admiring it saying "even these are bigger". 

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Drummers

Pots and pans, buckets and bowls, talent doesn't need expensive equipment.  These drummers were pulling crowds because they are good.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

For the Football Fans

 The Chelsea football club have been at the top of the football league since they were founded in 1905.  More than 40,000 fans can watch them here at their home stadium.

On the wall opposite the club is a giant portrait of the team with a space for tourist fans to sit and take  group selfies.  

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Still Raining

The new forecourt of Kings Cross station looks pretty no matter what the weather. 
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